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tv   C-SPAN Weekend  CSPAN  September 6, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EDT

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job-creating aspects of small businesses that do have income that might have saved $250,000 or $300,000. >> we had a meeting with a number of those about an 8% surcharge. all of them saw these as job costing measures at a time when they'd like to be creating jobs. i yield to the gentleman from georgia. as i understand the amendment, if these surtax -- specifically on those making i.d. if it's found by 2012, more than enough taxes that are raised and paying for this act, we should not
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condition to tax these individuals. the speaker was asked these questions about a wook ago. his response is we would use that money to pay down the deficit. revenue coming in. >> will the gentleman yield? >> it is my time. >> you have got these same people, the democratic majority are going to go after these same people to pay for other things. you better save some for later. >> i yield to the gentleman from florida. >> i thank my colleague. mr. wiener says we're going to lower health-care costs with this bill. this is a study by the joint economic committee, senator
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brown back is the ranking member. it is bipartisan. we should probably look at this graph. it is a small grass,ç but it shows that under this health care bill, health care costs are going up almost exponentially. you are welcome to get a copy, mr. wiener. i do not think there is any evidence to support your idea that this bill will bring down health-care costs. in fact, is going to increase it dramatically. when you look at what the president said, that he would not support any health care bill that did not bring health care costs down, i do not know how he could support this bill based on what the joint economic committee has published in this very thorough analysis showing health care costs going up. >> i yield to the gentleman from louisiana and if there is time, the gentleman from illinois. >> if anyone suggests that if this bill passes that taxes will go down, i suggest they go and
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read the bill. if you look at this section right here, 4-1, there is a tax on anything that is unacceptable. they can actually impose a 2.5% tax on your income. it is so large that the congressional budget office sat here in this room -- unfortunately, it was not a meeting that was open to the public, but i was there. the congressional budget office said that one section alone is going to add $29 billion in new taxes onto the backs of people who are uninsured today. most of those people are making a board of $50,000 per year. it is not just some radical blog that is going to tell you that your gwenn to pay more taxes. the congressional budget office is saying that it will be so. >> i yield to the gentleman from
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illinois. >> cbo said that obama is cost savings are an illusion. -- obama's cost savings are an illusion. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes himself for the last five minutes of debate on this amendment. this is a very confusion -- confusing amendment. this should not even be in this committee, but we checked with the parliamentarians and he said it was crafted in a way that allowed it to be germane. i do not know if that is why the chairman of the ways and means committee is here or not, but this is strange. the bill says that if we do not achieve the savings that we need to achieve, then we would look to revenues. this amendment says that if we do a study, we are going to
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determine that if the savings -- if we do achieve the savings, then we will reduce the revenues. the whole bill that we have is paid for out of programmatic savings, cuts in medicare, medicaid -- and if that is not enough, new revenues. this amendment would reduce the revenues. if we make a reduction in the revenue side, then we have to look to see whether we are going to get the savings. if we do not get the savings, this amendment could cost us several hundred billion dollars, if it worked. and there is a lot of comedic -- confusion on whether it works. i think this is a message amendment and i do not even understand the message. but the impact of this amendment would be very destructive to the bill that we have before us.
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and if the study showed that we did not achieve the savings, we would then make a decision -- or really get this decision -- as to how much money -- or redelegate this decision as to how much money would be possible. i urge members to oppose this amendment. it is what we call "gimmicky." it says it is doing something. it says your omb would fight at least $500 billion in savings that would be generated -- would find at least $500 billion in savings that would be generated. and if we did, we would change the surtax of individuals making less than $1 million to never face attack. i do not know what the provisions will be when we get to the house floor. -- less than $1 million to face
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a tax. i do not know what the provision will be we get to the house çfloor. >> will the gentleman yield? >> i will and a second. if it turns out that the revenues are inaccurate, we have to reduce revenues even more. who is asking me to yield? >> the majority committee provided numbers with a description of what this bill does for the district, including talking about the surtax. i would suggest that your side do the same thing. for example, -- and i have a bunch of them here -- it tells the number of small businesses that would receive tax credits. every one of these that item holding is about $12,000 plus, small businesses that help. how many seniors would avoid the doughnut hole in medicare part c? that is thousands. how many families would escape
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bankruptcy? that is in the hundreds. how many people in the district would get covered? in all cases it is over 100,000. and every single case, 99% plus people in the district will not pay the surcharge. we're talking about a tiny number compared to the hundreds of thousands of people that will help because finally they will get insurance. you ought to look at this description so you can take a good look at how your district will be helped by this bill. >> i would just say that under this amendment, after you get some analysis, the first priority will be to reduce taxes rather than make sure we keep those promises. and if we cannot keep those promises, we have to look at further reductions in medicare and medicaid. this is going to cost us hundreds of billions of dollars and not make the plan work. i suppose that is the goal.
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>> i just want to point out one tax that the minority side refuses to point out. we have $2.2 trillion for health care. that is going to go up unless we do something to $3 trillion by 2012. i said to my colleague from louisiana, yes, you can find charges in this bill, but you have to balance it against the close to $3 trillion in taxes for all americans. >> we have completed the debate time. we will now proceed to vote. mr. barton informs me he would like a roll-call vote. >> martin vaughn, that was a little bit about the surtax in >> the senate bill doesn't have a surtax sthashgs correct? >> correct.
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the senate has chosen a different option. the doe tails are still up in the air. >> the surtax has a couple of goals. it would help control costs.
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back to hr 3200. employer provided insurance and individual purchased insurance. >> the pep at for that would be at 2.5% penalty assessed on the tax return if you don't have coverage. on the employer side, we want to
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keep employers providing coverage. with the new public options available through the exchange. people that now have coverage minus great to those new alternatives. they don't provide coverage? >> that starts out at 8%? jo correct. it starts out at 2% and goes up to 8%.
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they don't want it to be a burden. the argument made is that a lot of employers have a good reason to offer the coverage. it is how we think about our jobs as americans.
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that doesn't go away under this bill. if the employer can provide ips, there's a built in subsidy there that has to be taken into account. >> can you show a little bit more and explain what the ex-changes are? jo sure.
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what the bill would create is a national exchange regulated and run by a commissioner it would include proif at hemming care plans and non-profit plans and the public option to government
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plans. >> this past summer, the ways and means committee debated for individuals that don't buy insurance. here's about 10 minutes of that debate. hanging out with us all day long and you have had one chance to respond to a question. i figured i would for one that you. >> 34. >> this is the amendment that
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helps make good on president obama's promise not to tax people making less than $250,000. looking at the spreadsheets that we do have from jct and cbo, is it not the case that some of the people that have to pay the 2.5% tax will be making less than $250,000? and is it not also the case that the employer payroll tax will be paid on payroll for people making less than $250,000? mr. ryan, you did ask me a couple of questions i number of hours ago. >> ok, not since dinner. [laughter] >> you asked about the proposal 2@@@ $ yes, i would have to say there
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is a surtax on individualshere making less than $250,000 in that circumstance. you also asked about the% payroll tax that would be applied to non--- the 8% payroll tax that would be applied to non-electing employers. as mr. elmendorf said this morning when we discussed a similar issue, both the congressional but ought -- congressional budget office and joint committee when we
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estimate the effects, when we do distribution analysis, we see the economics of payroll taxes as generally ultimately falling on the employee. >> wateville, thank you very much. -- wonderful, thank you very much. let me quote from mr. obama during the campaign. "middle-class families will see their taxes cut and no family making less than 2 under $50,000 will see their taxes increase -- making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase." this bill violates that promise and we want to help the majority, help the president make good on his promise. pass this amendment and we will make sure that families making less than 2 wondered $50,000 do not see their taxes -- $250,000 do not see their taxes increase. it is just that easy, it is that
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simple. these taxes increase over 10 years. they're not the major pay force in this bill. they are the punitive penalties designed to force people into the mandate. obviously, we have a policy problem with that. but more to the point, this bill violates the kind of change most people thought they were getting when they went to the polls in november. i bet if you ran a poll, most people believe that if they make less than 2 under $50,000 they will not get their taxes -- $250,000 it will not get their taxes increase because the man they voted for told them they would not. we make this bill law, they get their taxes increase. if we get this amendment, that will not happen. it is that simple. >> mr. blumenauer, u.r.l. -- you are recognized in order to respond. >> thank you, mr. chairman. would that work "that simple."
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my good friend, mr. ryan, and i occasionally have a chance to reminisce about the good old days when he was in charge and he was involved with taxes, deficits, where we had medicare part "d" airdropped in without any expectation of how we were going to pay for it, just a new entitlement. some of us voted against things of that nature. this is structured differently. the first, his proposal would call for a significant increase in the deficit. he is not talking about adjusting the program. he is just talking about eliminating revenues andriving up the deficit. second, he is sort of blowing a hole in the whole concept of insurance. if we are going to have individuals who do not have a feed, not an increase in their
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-- who do not have a fee, not an increase, but a fee to make sure that they do not answer -- that we do not destroy their insurance, what he's going to have is a person who will not get coverage until they get sick. under this provision cannot opt out, get coverage when you need it -- under this provision, opt out, get coverage when you need it. and suddenly make it impossible to talk the insurance reforms that are critical here. you just have people sit back and wait until they are sick. we already have provisions under this bill to help people avoid additional tax by obtaining health insurance coverage. if they have got problems, we have subsidization. if they are not eligible for subsidized coverage, there is a
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hardship waiver. but what he is talking about, increasing the deficit, destroying the principle of insurance, providing incentives for people just to drop in when they need it and have extensive payouts. then in terms of having an employer fee to make sure that people be a part of the system, he would exempt people the payroll of $250,000 the latest information available, that is 2007, i do not know if it is up or down, but is probably that ballpark. there have been some choppy economic waters. he would exempt 99.1% of american taxpayers from dealing with the payroll tax.
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i think that is a little bizarre. it is a little expensive. it is not increasing the income tax. this is taking away some of the principals, some of the fis and the regulating mechanisms -- some of the fees and regulating mechanisms to make the system work. if you want to cut the coverage, cut the coverage. or to reduce the revenues in one place, pay them somewhere else, but do not destroy the principle of insurance. do not drive of the cost of the deficit. that is what you did when you were in charge. we are trying to avoid that and i think we have done a reasonably good job. i would urge rejection of a misguided amendment that takes us back to the days when you were in charge. >> all of those arguments are fine and good, but they neglect the fact that the biggest promise of the last campaign is being violated with this piece
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of legislation. i do not want to do a rehash of the prior history, but when we were in this committee, when we were in charge, the majority offered a prescription drug bill that cost $1 trillion. so, and paid for, i would say. you could easily fall back the $1 trillion in this bill to pay for this. the point is this, you are violating his pledge. this bill breaks the president promised to the people of this country. it's just that simple. roll-call vote, please. >> martin vaughn, we just heard about penalties that individuals could face. what about subsidies for individuals that may not be able to afford health insurance? >> the bill also includes subsidies for low to moderate income people that are going to be seeking jo we just heard about subsidies. they would cover people up to 400% of the poverty level.
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right now. that's about $8 #,000 >> do they have to offer options or just one plan. the key is that they offer an affordable plan. what does affordable mean?
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there's not a requirement that they offer more than one but there is a requirement that they offer affordable insurance. >> could they offer the public option as the plan? >> the ways and meeps committee debate on penalties for employers also occurred this summer. we'll show you a little about that and come back in about a half hour. debating today contains an 8% payroll tax if they do not offer benefits to their employees, but also, if they do not offer the right kinds oveof health benefi. it is not only those businesses that cannot afford to offer
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health insurance to their employees, but health care coverage that is offered that is insufficient by the federal government. it also taxes those who offer sufficient coverage, but employees decide to enroll someone else. it also taxes businesses the federal government decides are not paying enough of the employee's premium. as the national unemployment rate climbs toward 10%, this is the wrong time to increase taxes on our nation's employers. that is why i am offering an amendment that strikes this ill- conceived employee mandates -- employer mandate. mr. chairman, i would like unanimous consent entered into the record, letters from the u.s. chamber, national federation of independent business, and 31 other organizations who have expressed their desire to see the employer
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mandate removed from the underlying legislation. the u.s. chamber of commerce has stated this employer mandate will not increase health care coverage, but rather, lead to the outsourcing and offshore in of jobs, hiring independent contractors as well as reducing work force and wages. the national retail federation, which represents one in five american workers, has said "employer mandates of any kind amount to a tax on jobs. we can think of few more dangerous steps to take in the middle of our present recession. but the nonpartisan budget office has also weighed in saying, as employers required to pay insurance or a fee is likely to reduce employment. even the white house economic model confirms this is true. it projects that an employer
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mandate included in the bill will result in 4.7 million americans losing their jobs. i cannot think of anything worse this congress could do right now in light of our current economic situation that would be as devastating as taxing businesses out of 4.7 million jobs. i urge my colleagues to join with me and support this amendment that would strike the act on american businesses. >> mr. levitt will respond. >> thank you, and to my friend, mr. johnson, i am very glad you have proposed this amendment. this very much across the lines -- draws the lines between those that want to sustain or maintain the status quo and to those who are determined to
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change it. we on this committee have been talking about this issue for years and as washington has talked, the number of people without insurance have grown. i do not know what more could moveç people than 45 million people to 50 million people without insurance. i do not know what is going to take. but if you go into the issues of people without insurance, look them in the eye, i do not see how you can support this amendment. the status quo is not only untenable, but unconscionable. and for the first time, the president of the united states
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and a majority in this congress are determined to step up to the plate and no longer daud to this issue. we have an employer mandate. we have been sensitive. and we have tried to balance this. we have exempted the smaller businesses with payrolls under $250,000 entirely. and what we have also done is to provide tax credits for businesses so that they can provide affordable, comprehensive coverage. what more do you ask? cbo says there will be 97% coverage. a dramatic increase in the coverage today, and my guess is that if you would replace all of
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us -- if you were to replace all of us with people who had no health insurance, that republicans as well as democrats would vote against this amendment. you talk about offshoring. so many of these jobs could never be sent overseas. you have opposition from the retail establishment. those jobs are going to be of short -- offshored? no, the fact is that so many of the businesses have been providing insurance, but a lot of the companies that are not have failed to do so, relying on those who provide insurance to cover their dependents. there has not been a single plan that i know of from the minority, a single plan that
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would lift the coverage for people in this coverage anything close to 97%. no proposal that would be scored as coming anything close. so, i say to you, if you want to pose this, come up with a plan that reaches 97%. come up with a plan. all of those -- all of us hold a town hall meetings and the hardest thing to do is to listen to a comment from people who have no coverage, who cannot afford coverage, who work hard and there is no health care coverage. there is no health reform without coverage. and let me just finish on this. the president has said, a
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mandate is that we get costs under control. a mandate is that we also cover virtually everybody. that is a double mandate. and this bill attempts to meet both mandates. maybe we can do more, and i think probably over time we will in terms of containment of costs, of rationalizing the delivery system. ok, but one thing that i think is untouchable for the president of the united states, and it should be for us, is covering essentially all americans with health care coverage. and if we leave here without anything less, we will not have done our job. we cannot sit here in this committee that has responsibility, we cannot
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continue to sit here and essentially sit on our hands. i oppose this amendment. >> the clr) recognizes mr. brady of texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. a quick fact check. quoting the cbo, it leaves 17 million people without health care coverage while we're still waiting to see but the cost is. that is about the population of florida. the second fact check is that republicans have a number of proposals to cover the uninsured in america, but we just did not have 24 hours or less to respond to the rush through congress that this bill is taking. but i think mr. levitt is correct, there is a distinction here on both sides of the aisle. the distinction is between those who understand how jobs are created in america and those who have no clue. having run a small business and an organization working with the
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small businesses for 18 years and struggling to pay health care myself for our workers, i do not think this committee fully understands what is wrong with -- a struggle it is for small businesses to keep workers, especially in tough economic times to keep them with health care. i looked at this from a small business perspective of what this mandate would do and according to the national bureau of economic research, who study the impact of a mandate like this on businesses, they made three key points that i think ought to be of interest to this committee. first, who loses their job with a mandate like this? primarily, women, minority, and high-school dropouts. more than 60% of those at risk of losing their jobs are racial and ethnic minorities. who else? minimum wage workers, those earning within $3 of minimum
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wage would be next at the greatest risk of losing their jobs. and interestingly enough, those currently without health care or seven times more likely to lose their jobs than workers presently injured. -- insured. a bill that is supposed to, that is claiming to cover the uninsured is a seemingly at odds with each other. i think you will see companies drop their coverage congressional budget office says requiring employers to cover employees or pay a fee if they do not is likely to cut jobs. in other research, small businesses are disproportionately affected by this mandate and will account for two-thirds of the job loss. that is the fear that our
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manufacturing companies and the workers in america reflect as well. with the national association manufacturers say is that this scheme will, instead, force a calculated cost-benefit on employers that will cause some to reduce benefits for workers, or just drop coverage altogether. i think this provision will backfire on the economy. it will cost us jobs and ultimately drive people out of the coverage that they have. this is a common-sense amendment that deserves support. at least, if used -- if you care about workers in america. i yield. >> of the 17 million, about half of them are undocumented workers. would you cover them with health insurance? >> can you guarantee to me that they will remain on documented? -- undocumented? >> that they will remain undocumented? >> as you go through your
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immigration reform, a lot of proposals offer amnesty to them. can you guarantee that they will remain undocumented? >> no, i do not think senator mccain and other sensible republicans would raise that issue. but do not throw in the 17 million. half of them are undocumented and we will be glad to talk to you about job loss. this side has been in the lead in terms of creating jobs in this country. >> [laughter] reclaiming my time, mr. chairman. i respect you a great deal, but you have lost 2 million jobs in the last five months. unemployment is higher and the economy is getting worse by the day. the president the other day just said that this stimulus failed. >> he did not say it failed. and your talk"a=uq jobs is the same as when we talk about minimum-wage.
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is the same old song. and the country wants a new tune. >> well, they are certainly getting it. [laughter] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> the chair recognizes mr. blumenauer. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i think this is an important amendment for us to have on the table. it is clear that this provides advantages for a wide variety of businesses because it levels the playing field. now, everybody will be providing health insurance or they will be contributing to overall. it is going to help avoid the slow unraveling of employer- provided health care in this country. we're on a passed unless we do something like the legislation -- we are on a pass, unless we
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do something like the legislation before us, where we continue to shrink the pool of employer-provided health care. we are watching the numbers decline as the premiums go up. this is an opportunity to stabilize and reversed it. this is not a huge burden on employers. we have had testified before us a number of examples where people point out that small business is all ready paying far more than 8% and there is an exemption under the bill for the smaller ones. but i would call people's attention to the information from the chamber of commerce. in the second paragraph they are saying in 2007, the employee benefits totaled about 18.6% of total compensation.
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health insurance is a significant portion of that and for virtually all employers that are providing health insurance now is higher. i think with any analysis of the information that we have had presented before us, that this is not an unduly burdensome level. it is, in fact, a bargain for most of the smaller companies and it will level the playing field so that everybody provide it and we will be protecting employer provided health insurance. failing that, within the next two or three years we will watch a continued and accelerating decline as it becomes more and more affordable. . .
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i think it is important to understand what makes up that number and if we can direct the precious resources that the american taxpayers give us to this 13 million to 16 million, then we can move forward. >> i appreciate the gentleman talking about the complexity of that number. i would point out that some of the higher income people do not have a choice.
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for the sum, -- for some, the problems in our legislation will take care of that. the fact that there are people that they're finding that -- that is why we would want to of the assistance of two $80,000 as a minimal amount. you have seen it in your state the increasing burden on employer-provided insurance. the numbers are going down and the premiums are going up and the future is bleak unless we do something similar to the legislation we have before us. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to follow up on a statement -- an observation made by the gentleman from michigan.
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that somehow of this spring's added discussion that reflects the difference between those of us who defended the status quo and want change. that is pretty hyperbolic. i will not touch that. but this amendment does separate those who want to place a priority on getting people back to work and those who do not. that is it. there is a lot of talk around this discussion about the number of uninsured. we all know that the number is fluid and the make up the number can change in any discussion. >> what is the breakdown? >> at the end of the day, we ought to be focused on the 14 million plus people in this country who are unemployed and the families that are reliant on the paychecks that are no longer coming. you can begin to look there and say that you have probably 30 million people that now have no hope of getting through the end
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of the month. that is where we need to focus first. that is what we should be doing. this amendment goes in completely the opposite direction. . as it has been said, this amendment creates a payroll tax on small businesses. in fact, the new tax could be as high as 8% of payroll for an entire company. let's really think about why small businesses, if they do not offer health care, why they do not offer health care. they do not because, frankly, they cannot afford it. 49% of small businesses with three workers to nine workers, that is really small business, only 49% of those offered some kind of health care. rather than reduce the cost for them, what this bill does is says, we are going to raise the
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cost. we are going to start with small businesses that have a payroll of $250,000. somehow, that is going to get us to have a more people insured. in response to the gentleman from oregon that this is the step to take toward preserving the employer-based health -- the employer-based health care system, this does not even begin to preserve the employer base. this goes in the opposite direction. even more, this bill says that, if a small business, if one of the 51% of small businesses with three workers to nine workers does provide insurance, the government in washington can say that that insurance is inadequate. let's look at the facts there. the bill says, in order to be adequate, first off, a small
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business must cover 72.5% of premium costs. in the case of a family, it must be 65% of premium costs. 20% of small businesses cover less than 75%. a third of all businesses cover less than 50% of premium costs. right away, you're going to provide and impose this tax. even more, the bill says that, if your employee decides he or she wants to participate in a government exchange and they like a richer plan elsewhere, even though the employer has decided to provide health insurance and is adequate, that employer would have to provide more money toward providing health insurance. it does not make sense. at the end of the day, if you pay tax to a payroll, it is
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a direct assault on providing jobs in this country. we ought not be doing this. an analysis that was performed by a model developed by the council of economic advisers demonstrated that this employee mandate, this tax on small businesses, would destroy -- could potentially destroy 4.7 million jobs. this is why we need to support mr. johnson's amendment. >> mr. johnson is prepared to close. i have two speakers. if you two would take that into consideration, we can dispose one way or the other. >> in any other given time in 2008, there were 65 million people unemployed, period.
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>> the reason that we are against this mandate is because the mandate will put more americans up to 114 million americans onto the government plan. the government plan that we have today, medicaid and medicare, are broken. they are trillions and trillions of dollars in the red. as long as we are going to send secretary geithner to the chinese to buy our bonds and in the treasury department is going to make money, he is correct. the question is how long will people bonus money and how much can we print before we completely destroy this economy? >> mr. johnson.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. i would just like to quote fr,m mfib. instituting reforms is where we ought to be going. they don't think we're going there by taxing our businesses. it seems to me that, if you are taxing a business that does not provide insurance, something is wrong with that picture. higher taxes are not the answer to get ourselves out of the problems that we are facing. i yield back. >> the question is on the amendment. the amendment is not successful.
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the clerk will call the roll. >> martin vaughn, we spent the day talking about.r >> we spent today talking about hr 3200 and the difference in those bills and the upcoming debate. >> what is the next step this fall? >> as the house lawmakers come back, they have to inter great their three bills. we do expect to see a house floor vote. probably in october time frame. >> they have to respond to those constituents. we don't know exactly how those things will go forward. the senate is really where the rubber hits the road here.
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they either node to bring 60 senators on board. following senator kennedy's death, they either node to find one republican or pass the bill a. to do that, they will probably have to shave it back and pass a more stripped down bill than what they had hoped to do. >> have either of the senate committees, have they passed out a bill yet? >> yes, the health committee passed out a bill. it was one of the first to do so. the finance committee has not passed a bill.
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with the support of at least two republicans, there's a big question whether they can accomplish that. there's been a negative safe comment where democrats are heading. >> did the mep committee, finance committee, did they lock started on the basic objectives.
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>> can you watch this tomorrow night. >> what's the impact the town halls have had in your view? >> it's been pretty big. there's a lot of questions if what they have raised have been republican activists and have been legitiment issue is. what the town halls have done is to slow this down. i think they brought to light a real trepidation about turning
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over age and larger role. you can read this hr 32, this 1,000 page document. what advice do you give? >> vivrin works pretty good. it's pretty good. it's an a real positive design. it's important to have a good
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sense of key provisions and where this is headed. the hr 3200 reform bill. >> today, live on c-span starting at 6:30 p.m. eastern a live taun hall meeting. >> and then hear about travels that included france, germany, uk and india tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. >> as the debate over healthcare continues, the c-span healthcare hub is a key resource. watch the latest event including
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video from any town halls you have gone to. there's more at >> coming up today, washington journal takes your calls and ema email. later, we'll look at the history of the naacp. clear >>this morning, we'll talk with the british ambassador about the british healthcare system. in a couple o


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